“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all.
Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.
Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all!”-- Song from This Savage Song
Victoria Schwab's 2016 novel This Savage Song is a unique world that is filled with monsters and not all of them are human. In the this world, monster are born from great violence and cruelty. The Corsai remind me of werewolves, the Malchai remind me of vampires, and the Sunai are something unique altogether. The city is divided into two halves. In this story we meet Kate Harker whose father controls the northern half of the city with a powerful fist and August Flynn, a Sunai who lives with Harper Flynn, a human who controls the Southern part of the city.
Kate Harker is a young girl that has worked very hard to get kicked out of six different schools to make sure that she was back in the city with her father. Her mother, killed in an accident, has left Kate with only one role model to look up to; her father. She strives to become as ruthless and powerful as he is, but he seems to want nothing to do with his daughter.
August Flynn is one of the most powerful monsters; a Sunai. The Sunai feed on the souls of sinners (people that have committed murder) and are considered by many invulnerable. August lives with two other Sunai, Ilsa and Leo, alond with the Flynns, a family that controls the southern half of the city by working together to protect people. August desperately wants to become more like his parents--human.
There paths cross when August is secretly enrolled into Kate's school in the north sector of the city. Soon the two are forced into a life and death situation that risks not only their lives, but the future of the city. In this struggle, they must come to grips about who they truly are.
I enjoyed this novel. I did feel a little confused at first as I struggled to figure out the rules to the world. The monsters and how they came to be took some time to figure out. The true power of the novel is the question that it explores--how does one come to grips with who they are, even if it means that includes being a bit of a monster. As I got settled into the world and the book really allowed the characters to explore this issue, it sucked me in to the point I didn't want to leave. The book is part of a series, so the ending leaves things hanging. If you like creative worlds that have a darker fantasy setting that explores the questions of what makes a person good or evil (human or a monster), then this is the book for you!